Interested in Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathy, Bowen Therapy or the Neuroemotional Technique?

As the profile of Naturopathic Medicine in North America has been on the rise in recent years, I have increasingly been contacted by prospective Naturopathic Medical students who are interested frank feedback on my education and career as a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver & Port Coquitlam.

In fact, just this week, I received emails from three different individuals who, despite hailing each from different continents, all posed near-identical reiterations of this basic question.

When synchronicity blugeons me on the head like this, I can't help but take notice. :)

So, without further adieu, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a Naturopathic Medical career in the Greater Vancouver region of BC.

Lets start with some pros.

In short, my experience as a naturopath in the GVRD has been very rewarding thus far.

I mean that primarily in an emotional and spiritual sense, although this profession can no doubt be financially lucrative.

Of course, the value of doing something for which you have a passion cannot be underestimated, and certainly cannot be properly in mere dollars and cents.

On the other hand, there have naturally been downsides as well.

For instance, after completing my undergraduate Systems Engineering degree, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to both naturopathic (ND) and conventional allopathic (MD) medical schools.

While that doesn't sound like much of a downside, you'll see what I'm getting at soon! :)

I chose the former because, after having just left the cold, analytical world of engineering, I was careful to avoid thrusting myself back into another rigidly-mechanistic and numbingly-clinical program.

The scope of education at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine was certainly well-rounded enough to allow for training in somewhat non-clinical or alternative disciplines, such as electrotherapy and exercise rehabilitation training.

Additionally, the inclusion of the naturopathic core treatment disciplines:

  1. Homeopathy
  2. Botanical Medicine (Herbalism)
  3. Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM / TCM)
  4. Therapeutic Nutrition
  5. Psychological Counseling (including that of patients and their loved ones in near-death cases, or even through the death process, and cognitive behavioral therapy), and
  6. Physical Medicine (Naturopathic Physical Manipulation, similar to chiropractic, as well as Massage, Hydrotherapy, UV light, and ultrasound therapies)

gave me a plethora of useful skills that I still regularly use in my daily practice.

Nonetheless, as most graduates of the seven fully-accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools:

  1. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
  2. Bastyr University
  3. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
  4. National College of Natural Medicine
  5. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  6. University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine 
  7. National University of Health Sciences

would no doubt attest to, there's no shortage of clinical work involved in getting the ND degree! 

With extensive training in conventional clinical and biomedical sciences, such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Biomedicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Lab Diagnosis
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemical Connections
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Oncology
  • Physical Clinical Diagnosis

as well as an additional post-graduate phamaceutical therapy course, I along with many of my collegues have attained sufficient training to prescribe all but the most restricted pharmaceuticals along MDs.

However, note that this does not imply that I choose to prescribe pharmaceuticals on a daily or even monthly basis.

Instead, as eloquently stated by Dr. Christoph Kind, ND, the president of the British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA),

“In a sense, the ability to prescribe legitimizes the decision not to prescribe."

So, despite their seeming differences, there are many similarities between the depth, direction and focus of study in naturopathic and conventional (allopathic) medical schools alike.

This chart highlights the similarities between accredited ND and MD education - as well as the striking differences between the fully-accredited ND programs administered by the aforementioned seven schools (the leftmost two columns in the chart) and the non-accredited "ND" knockoff degrees issued in non-regulated states (the rightmost two columns).

As for my experience in my early years of practice, there were again some positives and some negatives.

One of the positives was that, by the completion of my ND degree, I had received a plethora of clinical training - over 2000 hours devoted specifically to seeing patients and making real-life treatment decisions - via the Boucher student clinic and intership.

This naturally helped to create a relatively smooth transition into the working world.

In fact, the interships I had completed presented me with job opportunities at multiple clinics on graduation.

As a result, I was able to begin part-time work between preparations for my week-long board exams, and this transitioned nicely into full-time work immediately thereafter.

On the other hand, due to the relatively low profile of NDs in North America today, as well as the degree of competition in Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, Port Coquitlam, I could not simply put out my shingle and magnetically begin attracting patients.

Admittedly, this magnetic force has become increasingly stronger in recent years.

However, I reason that has more to do with the positive word-of-mouth being spread by some of my wonderful patients than the modest increase in either Naturopathic Medicine's public image or the general demand for NDs in the GVRD, particularly in the heavily-saturated Vancouver city proper.

However, going back to the beginning of my career, I certainly could not then rely on word of mouth.

Instead, I was forced instead to wear the dual hats of physician and entrepreneur, and to manage the health of my business in tandem with that of my patients.

Despite having been well-trained for this businessman role, it was one I once long resisted, idealistically (and very stubbornly) shunning self-promotion in favour of intensive focus on patient care - which, after all, was what I became a doctor to do!

But at the end of the day, if one chooses to take the road less traveled, it's only natural that one must learn to blaze a trail.

And once that path has been cleared, the possible destinations to which it may be followed are limited only by a Naturopathic Doctor's drive, passion and imagination.

Naturopathic Medicine & Homeopathy Testimonials

My only reason for trying Dr. Andy's treatment was to help me quit smoking.

If that had been all that he did, I would have already been satisfied.

Needless to say, I was pretty blown away when the homeopathic remedy and neuroemotional releases not only helped me quit smoking (going on 1 year now) but also made my stools better (less painful, blood and frequent).

The Bowen therapy also seemed to make made me less depressed in winter, and helped straighten the curvature in my spine.

I also get hardly any pain during my flow now, and the flow isn't as crazy heavy as it was.

A.P., Victoria (Saanich), BC

I passed the stone with much less pain this time thanks to your homeopathic and neuroemotional treatment.

And I haven't had any stones since.

My muscles and sciatic nerve are not so inflammed since your Bowen technique therapy.

W.B., Maple Ridge (Haney), BC

Lucas's adenoids and tonsils were always at least partially enlarged, and they'd get worse whenever he'd get a cold.

Which was like every month.

Since your homeopathic remedy last year, he stopped getting sick as often.

And his glands are almost normal-sized now.

I don't notice him mouth-breathing or snoring very much at all these days.

Becky L, New Westminster, BC

The shoulder is a lot better! Before I couldn’t even lift things with it - now I’m back gardening and skating regularly. 

My cold actually went away very quickly with the treatment, too – I felt better almost immediately.

My sinuses don’t hurt like they used to, and I don’t get the headaches any more either. Where I injured my head with the concussion doesn’t hurt anymore, and I don’t think I’m as accident prone as I was before either.

I’ve even lost weight over the last few months. 

I originally had a tendency to run around and try to do way too many things at once, and then only do things half or three quarters of the way. The remedy has helped me learn to gather myself a bit, to get an overview of what’s going on, so that I feel more structured to plan my food and my work.

With my work, I’ve been able to work long hours and then relax after since we began the treament.

Also, when I am at home and with the kids, I am capable of talking to them and doing other things at the same time.

Finally, the anxiety, high blood pressure and palpitations are also much better. I don’t even pay attention to the numbers anymore. I know what I feel, and since your treatment, I feel much better with all of this!

S.A., Richmond, BC

Multiple car accidents caused me to have less mobility and huge pain and stiffness in my neck, face and jaw.

I'd get super dizzy every couple of days, and have to go throw up.

My lymph nodes were always swollen too, and I got throat infections much more often.

I felt so tightly wound at work and in my marriage too.

The homeopathy, bowen therapy and neuroemotional releases all made my neck relax, and the pain started to go away too.

I've been pain-free for months, and have finally been able to drive without fear again.

Amanda R, Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows, BC

I had lots of problems all over my body when I first was referred to you.

I peed myself when I laughed or jumped up and down, and felt like I constantly had to go to the bathroom, but nothing would come out.

My heart also felt like it was jumping out of my chest sometimes.

Homeopathy never had worked for me in the past, but your remedy really did the trick.

And the neuroemotional work helped me to recognize and let go of a bunch of old traumas I had been holding on to.

The exercises you gave me for the pelvic floor strengthening also seemed to help me get control of my bladder.

Lisa A., Langley (Aldergrove), BC

The TIAs and stroke had left me weak, debilitated, paralyzed and unable to take care of myself.

I had given up hope when I was referred to Dr. Andy, and honestly didn't believe his weird-looking homeopathic treatment would be of any use at all.

My wife had to convince me to give the homeopathy, neuroemotional technique and Bowen therapy a try.

I didn't notice anything at all at first, but my wife, children, and friends all told me I was speaking, moving and looking better.

I don' t know, maybe the changes happened too slowly to notice.

However, the difference is obvious even to me now.

My face, speech and movements are more symmetrical, and I am more independent and capable than I have been for a long time, even since before the stroke.

Tom E., Vancouver (West End / Downtown), BC

My 100 year old aunt suffered a bout of shingles after which she had severe neuralgic pain in her left arm and around her torso. The pain was so bad that even her clothing couldn't be tolerated.

Dr. Andy conducted a thorough interview and prescribed a wonderful remedy especially for her.

Within days the pain was forgotten by her body and mind and has never returned. 

Margaret Ball, Vancouver (Kitsilano), BC

My daughter had about 6 ear infections in under a year, and was constantly uncomfortable and crying.

Your homeopathic remedy flipped some kind of switch inside her - she was happier almost instantly!

She only had one more infection over the next six months, and hasn't had another in the past year.

Your treatment also really gentle - we'll definitely be coming back to you for our youngest soon!

Brooke T, Delta (Tsawwassen), BC

I felt 90% better after the first Bowen therapy session with Dr. Andy.

I can't even remember now the last time I had arthritic symptoms, joint or muscle pains.

Donald W, Surrey (South Surrey / White Rock), BC

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